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Baltimore Crime Beat
Police and court news
Police break up $39,000 'Molly' deal in Northeast Baltimore

Four kilograms of the party drug "Molly" were seized when authorities broke up a drug deal in the parking lot behind a Northeast Baltimore restaurant on Friday, court records show.

Baltimore Police officers and federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations received a detailed tip that a shipment of MDMC, more commonly known as "Molly," was set to be delivered on Friday afternoon, police wrote in court records.

Officers set up surveillance in the area of Northern Parkway and Harford Road and saw a car matching a description of one of the participants pull into the rear parking lot of Valentino's restaurant, police said.

After police said they watched the exchange of a black backpack and a shopping bag, as described by the tipster, they moved in and arrested two men. 

Police said one of the men was carrying $39,900 in cash, and seized approximately four kilograms of "Molly."

Court documents say both men were arrested, and court records show the alleged buyer has since been charged...

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Murder suspect remains at large after mistaken release from jail

A murder suspect who was erroneously released from a Baltimore jail — which was not noticed for two days — remained at large Tuesday, and one lawmaker is calling for an independent investigation of the circumstances.

Authorities are still searching for Rodriquez Purnell, a 30-year-old man held at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostics and Classification Center as he awaited a retrial on murder charges. On Monday, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services said Purnell had been released Friday night, which was not discovered until Sunday night.

Officials have not explained how they learned that Purnell was released, but the family of the man he is accused of killing is claiming that they brought it to the department's attention — after seeing him on the streets.

Purnell is accused of killing Terrence Rheubottom, 27, in March 2013, and his first trial in August ended in a mistrial. He was continuing to be held.

Friends of Rheubottom's family said they saw Purnell on the...

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Man shot in leg in Belair-Edison Monday night

A man was shot in the leg a few blocks from Herring Run Park in the northeast neighborhood of Belair-Edison Monday night, police said.

Police were called shortly before 9 p.m. to the 3600 block of Dudley Avenue for the report of a shooting where they found the victim. He was taken to an area hospital.

Police believe the shooting occurred nearby in the 3500 block of Juneway.

Northeastern District detectives are investigating and ask that anyone with information to call 410-396-2444.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/janders5

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Girl, 14, charged as adult in Southwest Baltimore stabbing

A 14-year-old girl is being held as an adult after being charged with attempted first-degree murder in connection with a serious stabbing in Southwest Baltimore.

Arica Leonard, who was born in 1999 and turns 15 next month, was being held in the juvenile unit of the women's detention center — one of just two girls being held there, officials said. She is accused of stabbing a female in the back of the head with a "long knife" during a fight last week, court records show.

The victim suffered three cuts to the back of her head that required five staples and four stitches, police wrote in charging documents.

In Maryland, youth charged with attempted first-degree murder and other offenses that carry a possible maximum penalty of life in prison are automatically charged as adults. They can petition the court to have the case waived to the juvenile system.

Leonard was initially held without bond by a District Court commissioner, but at a bail review a District Court judge set bail at...

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U.S. Dept. of Justice reveals plans to review Baltimore Police Dept.

A U.S. Department of Justice official pledged Monday to conduct a thorough, independent and objective review of the city police force after hearing more concerns from residents about excessive force and other misconduct by Baltimore officers.

While some Baltimoreans called for a full-scale civil rights probe of the city police, the head of the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services said federal officials believe working with the department is the best way to improve its interactions with the community.

Ronald L. Davis, the director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, said they decided on that approach — called collaborative review —after considering the reforms instituted in last two years by Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

"The civil rights division is a part of the process," Davis said, "and they retain the ability to come into Baltimore if reform is not made, if recommendations are not...

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Community leaders question transparency of Baltimore police probe

When Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts asked the federal government to review allegations of brutality in the police force, he turned to a familiar face: Ronald L. Davis, the head of the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Batts and Davis have crossed paths on a number of occasions. Batts edged out Davis to be Oakland's top cop in 2009. As they worked in nearby cities, they served in 2010 on a transition committee for a newly elected California attorney general. And last November, they shared a stage with others in New York City to talk about police issues for the new mayor.

Now, as Baltimore and federal officials prepare to announce details Monday of the collaborative review of the city's Police Department, some community leaders are faulting Batts for not disclosing his professional relationship with Davis.

"He definitely should have made us aware," said City Councilman Warren Branch, head of the public safety committee.

Marvin L....

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